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    Dual Weapon Rogue by zeusodinra

    Updated: 04/28/10 | Printable Version | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    
    
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     =================
     TABLE OF CONTENTS
     =================
    
       0. INTRODUCTION
    
       1. WHAT'S NEW
    
       2. ORIGINS
    
       3. ATTRIBUTES
    
       4. SKILLS
    
       5. SPECIALIZATIONS
    
       6. TALENTS
    
       7. EQUIPMENT
    
       8. COMBAT HINTS
    
       9. COMPANIONS
    
       10. TIPS & TRICKS
    
       11. CLOSING WORDS
    
    
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       ===============
       0. INTRODUCTION
       ===============
    
       The Dual-Wielding, backstabbing Rogue is the most highly damaging of the
    melee DPS variants. I've always enjoyed playing Rogues in Bioware games due to
    the subtle, treacherous and exotic nature of their combat techniques. In case
    you don't know, DPS = damage per second, the real measure of how deadly your
    character is. It takes into account damage per hit and attack speed.
    
       In Awakening, the Dual Weapon Rogue's adventure continues unabated with
    even greater power thanks to new Talents, Skills and higher level cap. The
    focus of the build is to achieve high DPS by using the following:
    
       * Fast attack speed
    
       * Backstab attacks
    
       * High critical hit chance
    
       * Increased backstab/critical hit damage
    
       * Other melee Rogue tricks
    
       Meanwhile, your defense is not neglected and the character is able to
    contribute to the party by picking locks and using skills, be it Coercion
    for the main character or a different skill for a companion.
    
       There WILL be spoilers in this guide, although I try to keep them fairly
    minor. Most of the spoilers are from the early parts of the game.
    
       When I mention the original Dragon Age: Origins game, I will refer to it
    as simply "Origins". This game, Dragon Age: Origins Awakening will be refered
    to as "Awakening".
    
       This is an extension guide to my original Dragon Age: Origins Dual Weapon
    Rogue guide. I hope you enjoy it.
    
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       =============
       1. WHAT'S NEW
       =============
    
       There are many new additions in Awakening. Some of these can affect the
    dual weapon rogue significantly. Others may seem irrelevant but can affect you
    indirectly. Here are some of the most significant additions:
    
       * Increase to various limits, for example experience level now capped at 35
         and backstab damage bonus increased to 200% more than base backstab
    
       * 4 new Rogue abilities
    
       * 2 new Rogue specializations: Shadow and Legionnaire Scout
    
       * 4 new Dual Weapon talents
    
       * 3 new skills: Runecrafting, Vitality and Clarity
    
       * 6 companions, 5 of whom are new: 2 Warriors, 2 Rogues and 2 Mages
    
       * Many new weapons and armour
    
       * Manual of Focus: re-distribute all Attribute, Specialization, Skill and
         Talent points on activation
    
       * Runes now available for armour, some new runes for weapons available too
    
       * Stamina Draughts: Lyrium potion equivalent for Rogues and Warriors
    
    
       With the availability of Manual of Focus (bought from Herren in Vigil Keep's
    Courtyard), initial parameters are no longer so important. The Manual allows
    you to redistribute Attributes, Specialization, Skill and Talent points as you
    see fit. It is available in infinite quantity for the low price of 6 gold each.
    
       The Manual of Focus is I think the most significant change in Awakening. It
    allows you to try out as many builds as you like, customize all companions to
    your liking, and eliminates any regrets of "permanent" choices you made during
    Origins. Always remember that you can re-make any character with this manual.
    
       Stamina Draughts are long overdue. Previously, the only way was to munch on
    Deep Mushrooms with very little effect.
    
       I won't comment much on the other changes, they are quite self-explanatory.
    
    
    
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       ==========
       2. ORIGINS
       ==========
    
    
       If you are using an exported Origins Warden then your choice is already
    made. Try to export at as high a level as possible. I was almost level 25
    (the maximum in Origins) at the start of Awakening and only got to level 35
    (the new cap) just before the last area.
    
       If you're making a new Warden, the best choice remains to use Dwarf due to
    their innate resistance to magic. However, since origin-based free skills and
    talents no longer play any part, the choice is a lot more free. Pick Elf or
    Human if you like, it makes little difference in the end. Note that you won't
    have any of the upgrades you receive from the Origins game, namely Attribute
    bonuses from the Fade and points from Tomes.
    
       If you're not using a Rogue Warden, there are two Rogue companions that you
    can recruit. Both are viable for the build thanks to customization from Manual
    of Focus. This was not something you could do in Origins, NPC talents could
    not be 100% moulded to suit your needs.
    
       Before we continue, let's take a quick look at the stats you get as a Rogue:
    
       Attributes:	+4 dexterity, +2 willpower, +4 cunning
       Level up: 	+5 health, +4 stamina, +1 skill every 2 levels
    					(not every 3 levels like the others)
    
       No matter how you start, you would probably need to redistribute points
    using the Manual of Focus once or twice during Awakening.
    
    
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       =============
       3. ATTRIBUTES
       =============
    
       Strength (Str):	-->	24
       Dexterity (Dex):	-->	52	by level 26
       Willpower (Wil):	-->	n/a
       Magic (Mag):		-->	n/a
       Cunning (Cun):	-->	70+	All spare points go into Cunning
       Constitution (Con):	-->	n/a
    
    
       If you're making a new Warden I suggest you get the Strength requirement out
    of the way, set Dexterity to 35, then maximize Cunning. Upon leveling up make
    sure you get 52 Dex by level 26 then simply put everything else into Cunning.
    
       There are more free Attribute bonuses that you can get in Awakening. I did
    not pay much attention to how many of each there were, again because you can
    simply redistribute the points.
    
       Explanation:
    
       Lets go with the obvious first, the stats you don't really need. Magic is a
    downright throw away attribute. You are no mage, you don't need this. It does
    improve health poultices but to invest in magic just for that is a waste.
    
       Willpower and Constitution are both semi-important, giving you more stamina
    for abilities and more health respectfully. Investing heavily in them, however,
    will lessen your damage-dealing focus. I tend not to increase them at all.
    You really only need them in the early game, but investing in them in early
    game noticably delays getting your main attributes to a solid level. At higher
    levels, when your main attributes are solid, increasing Wil/Con will no longer
    have much of a noticeable effect, so you may as well just maximize your main
    attributes. Note also that the new Awakening Armor Runes can boost Willpower
    by up to +7 per rune or Constitution by up to +14 per rune. Furthermore new
    Awakening skills Vitality and Clarity increase health and stamina respectively.
    These eliminate any need to boost Willpower and Constitution in the late game.
    
       Strength affects melee damage and Attack. However, with Lethality, you can
    use Cunning to increase damage instead. Cunning also contributes to Armor
    Penetration and many talents, which Strength doesn't. Therefore keep Strength
    to 24, which is enough to wear the best Light Armor. 18 or even down to the
    minimum base of 11 can be passable if you boost it using equipment, but I like
    to save myself the hassle of being equipment dependant and just raise the Str
    to 24. Str also increases Physical Resistance, but so does Dex, and Dex is more
    useful.
    
       Next let's take a look at Dexterity. Dex is a pre-requisite to many of your
    Dual-Wielding and Rogue Talents. In Awakening, the priceless ability Flicker
    requires 52 base Dexterity. This is what we'll go for.
    
       Cunning contributes to Armor Penetration and, with Lethality, attack damage.
    Also, many other important abilities like Exploit Weakness and Riposte use Cun
    in their calculations. Cun also boosts Mental resistance and allows you to pick
    locks and Persuade people.
    
       There were some convincing calculations done in favour of maxing Cunning
    for DPS back in Origins:
    
    	http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/66/index/223777
    	http://i47.tinypic.com/2zz2qo8.jpg
    
       I do not know if this formula still applies, but I don't see any changes
    that immediately suggests otherwise. In any case I would get 70 Cunning just
    to be able to open any locks without needing other Talents. Also, several key
    abilities, namely Exploit Weakness, Song of Courage, Lethality and to a lesser
    extent Riposte all depend on Cunning. There are no such key abilities that
    depend on high Dexterity. This is yet another reason to maximize Cunning.
    
       For those of you who wonder whether the Cunning build gets a high enough
    Attack rating to maintain a decent hit rate, don't worry. My Warden has over
    90% hit rate throughout Origins. My NPC rogue had 86% hit rate throughout
    Awakening. Player characters have extra bonuses, so the hit rate for them will
    be higher.
    
    
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     =========
     4. SKILLS
     =========
    
       As a Rogue you get the privilege of gaining a skill every 2 levels instead
    of every 3 like everyone else. You also get 3 skill points when you create your
    character. This means by level 35 you will have 20 skill points, not including
    bonuses from the tomes you could get in Origins.
    
       The most important point to remember is that companions can acquire skills
    too. There is no need to have more than one Master Herbalist, Trap Maker,
    Poison Maker, Runecrafter and Thief (pickpocketeer) in your party. I tend to
    assign these party skills to companions and pick Coercion for the main
    character since companions cannot use that skill.
    
       You as a Rogue start with a point in Poison-Making. This is extremely handy
    because it lets you use poisons and grenades. Higher points are not necessary
    and can be acquired on companions if needed or acquired later when you have
    spare points.
    
       The only skill you really absolutely need to invest in is Combat Training,
    which is required for some of your core weapon talents. This skill also gives
    small but useful bonuses to your combat stats such as Attack and Armor. Max
    this out first.
    
       A useful skill to get is Coercion which is only available to the Warden and
    not to any of your companions. Since only you can use it, and since it helps
    quite a lot during quests to bring extra rewards or make things easier, I
    generally always pick it. It also adds flavour to dialogues.
    
       In Awakening you also get two other "personal" skills: Vitality and Clarity.
    Vitality increases Health and Clarity increases Mana or Stamina, each by 25
    points per skill. This is quite a significant boost and you want to get both
    of these maxed out by the end. The best way is to use Manual of Focus at level
    26 and re-assign your points to Vitality and Clarity.
    
       If you're exporting from Origins then your skills have already been chosen.
    If you make a new character, you will have 12 skill points at the start.
    
       At the start of Awakening you should have at least the following:
    
    	4 levels of Combat Training
    	4 levels of Coercion
    	1 level of Poison-Making (already locked in)
    	3 more of anything you like, you can mix it up or focus on one skill
    
       At the end of Awakening, you will have the above, plus:
    
    	4 levels of Vitality
    	4 levels of Clarity
    
    
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       ==================
       5. SPECIALIZATIONS
       ==================
    
       In Origins a dual weapon Rogue typically went with Assassin and any other
    one of Bard, Ranger and Duelist. In Awakening, for this build, only three
    specializations really fit: Assassin, Bard and Shadow.
    
       Assassin is needed mostly for the increase in backstab damage from Exploit
    Weakness. This Cunning-based bonus also synergizes very well with other Cunning
    based abilities such as Lethality and Riposte. Mark of Death is also an awesome
    ability to increase DPS. Feast of the Fallen gives you extra Stamina to unleash
    your powerful abilities. Lacerate gives even more damage boost.
    
       Bard was chosen solely for Song of Courage. This is an excellent party buff
    that increases Attack, Damage and Critical chance, all of which are important
    to this build. You cannot miss this. If there are other Bards in the party, the
    more the merrier: this ability can stack.
    
       Shadow was chosen for Shadow Form and Shadow Striking, which combine to
    reduce hostility and, most importantly, add +50% backstab damage. Decoy and
    Pandemonium are also nice abilities to have, adding more defensive measures.
    
       Duelist is overlooked because it's underpowered compared to the others. It
    only grants +10 Attack and Defense, which cannot compare to the awesome damage
    boost from Shadow and Assassin talents or the party-wide benefits of Song of
    Courage. Pinpoint Strike may seem nice, but doesn't last long and has a very
    long cooldown. Your critical hit rate will be very high anyway without it.
    
       Ranger just seems a little out of sync with the ideals of the build. It does
    not improve your fighting skills in any way and simply adds a pet to run around
    with you. The other specializations just add so much more to the concept.
    
       The new Legionnaire Scout specialization is not strictly speaking a bad one.
    However, it has a definite emphasis on defense, which is not the point of this
    build.
    
    
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       ==========
       6. TALENTS
       ==========
    
    
       These are the most important choices, it is what makes the build. Some
    choices are obvious, others can be dubious. By the end (level 35) you'd have
    at least 39 talent points. This may seem like a lot, but you need them.
    
       The are many awesome new talents available in Awakening. Most of these have
    a Level 20 requirement. These will keep you busy from level 20 to at least
    level 30, so any talents from Origins will need to be taken before level 20 or
    wait until much later (after level 30).
    
       Assuming you don't export, you will start at level 18 with 21 Talent points
    plus Dirty Fighting, which is already locked in (total 22 Talents).
    
    
       * Assassin : 2 to 4 points
    
    	You need at least Exploit Weakness for your backstabs to work properly.
         Lacerate is a relatively weaker ability. Feast of the Fallen can be used
         to refill your stamina for more havoc, but in Awakening you can use
         Stamina Draughts to do this. Feast was more valuable in Origins when you
         had no other effective way to refill your stamina.
    
       * Bard : 3 points
    
    	Song of Courage is the one you want and is one of the best ability in
         the build, increasing Attack, Damage and critical chance. Captivating
         Song will stun enemies but it leaves you immobile which is quite against
         the build's concept.
    
    
       * Rogue, Dirty Fighting line : 3 points
    
    	Coup de Grace is awesomely good, enabling you to score backstab hits
         to stunned or paralyzed enemies from any angle. It combos well with many
         other abilities and, well, the point of the build is to optimize back-
         stabs anyway. Note that Dirty Fighting is automatically selected.
    
    
       * Rogue, Below the Belt line : 4 points
    
    	Lethality is probably the single most important talent in the build.
         It makes Cunning a damage attribute, without it maxing Cunning makes no
         sense and the use of many other talents just won't fit. From Lethality
         it takes just one point to get Evasion, which significantly boosts your
         ability to dodge attacks.
    
    
       * Rogue, Deft Hands line : 0 to 2 points
    
    	This is nice, but you will soon have enough Cunning to open any lock
         without investing in this at all. That said, you may not have enough Cun
         for SOME locks at the start. 2 points here should be enough to cover it.
    
    
       * Rogue, Stealth line : 0 points
    
    	The point of Stealth is to use it to perform critical hits out from
         out of Stealth mode. You do *not* need it to scout ahead while hidden, it
         slows you down so much and the game is not hard enough for that. The real
         toughest fights. You need to invest all 4 points for it to be effective
         in combat and when you do, you still only get the 1 ability.
    
    
       * Dual Weapon, passives : 3 points
    
    	I would take all the passive Dual Weapon abilities except for the last
         one (Mastery). The -2.5% Fatigue that it grants is simply too little,
         especially compared to the -10% that warriors get from the Powerful
         talent. Also, you will be using only Daggers, making the other half of
         Mastery completely useless.
    
    
       * Dual Weapon, Dual Striking line : 0 or 2 or 4 points
    
    	Dual Striking mode itself is the most useless talent you can get for
         this build. There is no place for a mode that disables critical hits and
         backstabs in a build that emphasises them. That aside, all the other
         abilities are fantastic burst-damage dealers. Riposte is my favourite as
         it stuns the enemy, leaving them open to Coup de Grace backstabs. If you
         are going to get Cripple, you may as well spend an extra point and get
         the awesomely good Punisher.
    
    
       * Dual Weapon, Dual Weapon Sweep line : 0 to 4 points
    
    	This line is full of more damage dealing goodies. All four abilities
         are great, so unlike Dual Striking where the main drawcards are Riposte
         and Punisher, you can go for any number of points here. Momentum is of
         particular note since it greatly increases attack speed and thus DPS.
    
    	There is only one situation in which investing in this line is not
         recommended and that is when you wish to use Haste for your party.
    
    	Momentum and Haste are bugged such that if you use both, you cross a
         threshold that actually makes your attacks slower. Momentum reduces attack
         time by 30% while Haste reduces it by 25%. Together this is a 55% attack
         time reduction while the cap seems to be 50%.
    
    	When deciding which to use, know that Haste increases movement speed
         whereas Momentum does not seem to (even though it is advertised to).
         These bugs are very unfortunate, but you must adapt to it. Note also that
         if you have two mages in your party both using Haste, this will be better
         than Momentum and still fall within the 50% attack time reduction cap.
         This is what I used when I played Awakening and in that playthrough I
         skipped this line altogether.
    
    
       This gives us a total of 27 talents, 5 more than we have points for. From
    level 20 onwards, you'll be taking high-level talents new to Awakening. This
    will take up all your talent points until level 30, so any Origins talent you
    don't get now will have to wait until much later. Level 19 gives one last
    opportunity to take one of the Origins talent, leaving us with 4 talents to
    cut from the list above.
    
       The final choice is up to you, but I feel there are 4 sets, each with two
    talents. Pick any 2 of the 4 sets to get the 4 talents you are cutting.
    Remember that you can still get these talents later, after level 30.
    
       * If you're planning to use Haste or Double Haste, you may want to skip
         Momentum and therefore Whirlwind also.
    
       * Feeling that you probably won't have enough stamina to use all your
         Activated abilities, you may want to skip Cripple and Punisher.
    
       * Knowing that you'll soon have enough Cunning to open all locks, or will
         soon recruit another rogue who can, you may want to skip Deft Hands.
    
       * Since Lacerate is a bit underpowered and Stamina Draughts can be used
         instead of Feast of the Fallen, you can choose to skip these two talents.
    
    
    ==============
    Example Build:
    ==============
    
       For the 22 points you get at level 18 this would be my preference:
    
     1-3	Dirty Fighting -> Combat Movement -> Coup de Grace
     4-7	Below the Belt -> Deadly Strike -> Lethality -> Evasion
     8-11	Mark of Death -> Exploit Weakness -> Lacerate -> Feast of the Fallen
     12-14	Song of Valor -> Distraction -> Song of Courage
     15-17	Dual Weapon Training -> Finesse -> Expertise
     18-21  Dual Striking -> Riposte -> Cripple -> Punisher
     22	Dual Weapon Sweep
    
    Level 19: Flurry
    
       I skipped Deft Hands because it'll become obsolete later and anyway you can
    still open the easier locks without it. I also skipped Momentum and Whirlwind,
    opting to use Haste from a mage companion.
    
    
       From here you'll be taking the new Awakening abilities that require at
    least level 20. At level 22 you'll also get another Specialization point. This
    specialization should be Shadow.
    
    
       * Shadow line : 3 points
    
    	Shadow Striking is what you're after, with the +50% backstab damage.
         Pandemonium is interesting, but it is mostly a defensive ability.
    
    
       * Rogue, Heartseeker line : 4 points
    
    	Every single one of these are very powerful, take them all. Heartseeker
         essentially halves every Elite enemies' Health, since once they get below
         50% HP you can instant-kill them with this. I've seen damage from Heart-
         seeker exceed 2000 points. Two thousand! Ghost is an excellent panic
         button that practically ensures you cannot be killed from attacks. Weak
         Points increases damage, which is the aim of the build. Flicker is one of
         the most damaging AOE abilities in the game. A whole lot of win.
    
    
       * Dual Weapon, Twin Strikes line : 4 points
    
    	This line emphasises dealing massive damage to a single target. Of
         particular note is Find Vitals, which passively increases critical chance
         and critical damage as well as improving Twin Strikes. Since they all
         combo together, you may as well get all of them.
    
    
       The order is pretty much set in stone with Shadow and new Rogue abilities
    interweaving perfectly.
    
    
    Level
      20)	Heartseeker
      21)	-save a point-
      22)	Ghost + Shadow Form
      23)	Decoy
      24)	Weak Points
      25)	Shadow Striking
      26)	Flicker
      27)	Twin Strikes
      28)	Find Vitals
      29)	Low Blow
      30)	Unending Flurry
    ------------------------
      31)	as you like from here on, you would already have everything you need
      32)
      33)
      34)
      35)
    
    
       One thing to note is that you won't have enough slots in your quickbar for
    all your abilities. Knowing this, I tend to favour passive abilities.
    
    
       -------------------
        A Note on Evasion
       -------------------
    
       Evasion and other dodge abilities have a short blocking animation when
    triggered. This is where your character visually makes a blocking move with his
    or her weapons/shield/whatever. This takes away about a half a second where you
    cannot attack and thus it protects you at the cost of your DPS. If you feel
    that this is a lousy deal, skip Evasion and don't equip any item that gives you
    a dodging bonus. This is harder in Awakening since many great items include
    dodging.
    
    
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       ============
       7. EQUIPMENT
       ============
    
       While Awakening presents many new weapons, armour and other items, you'll
    find that many pieces of equipment from Origins are worth carrying over and
    even remain the best throughout the game.
    
       A note on exporting: all original Origins, Stone Prisoner and Return to
    Ostagar items can be exported. All other DLC items will NOT be exported. This
    includes Warden's Keep and individual DLC items such as The Edge. HOWEVER, if
    unexportable items were equipped, a bug will make all effects (such as Armor
    rating and attribute bonuses) stay on the character permanently even though
    the item itself will be removed.
    
    
      ---------
       Weapons 	The Rose's Thorn	(export)
      ---------	Voice of Velvet		(Amaranthine, Crown & Lion, ~140g)
    
       Daggers are the best choice for DPS dual weapon Rogue mostly due to their
    great speed and armour penetration. It also happens that many daggers have
    bonuses that are right up your alley, such as +damage and +X% backstab damage.
    
       The other main reason is that you never need to invest in Strength to be
    able to wield daggers. Many other good one-hand weapons require a good amount
    of Strength, upwards of 30, which you won't have.
    
       Voice of Velvet is without a doubt the best dagger in Awakening. The second
    choice, surprisingly, is still the Rose's Thorn from Origins. I'm not sure if
    you can get it in Awakening, if not, there are a couple of other daggers you
    can find that are quite good.
    
    
      -------
       Runes	Elemental	~5 gold each
      -------	Paralyze	~1 to ~45 gold each depending on tier
    		Intensifying	~5 gold each
    
       You will have up to 3 rune slots per weapon for a total of 6 runes. With
    Runecrafting in Awakening, acquiring any rune you want is just a matter of
    being able to afford them and finding the Tracing. You'd need someone in your
    party with the appropriate skill, of course.
    
       The simplest option is to go for Elemental runes, which add 2 damage from
    each element for a total of +8 damage per rune. 3 Elemental runes add a very
    considerable +24 damage to each attack. Elemental runes are also fairly cheap
    and outclasses even Paragon tier Flame/Frost/Lightning runes in damage.
    
       The next option is to go for Paralyze runes. Paralyzed enemies are open to
    backstabs from any angle thanks to Coup de Grace. Remember also that paralyzed
    enemies are unable to cause any harm to you. 3 of these runes per weapon will
    give you roughly 15% chance of paralysing the enemy per hit. If you want to
    use the highest tier Paragon runes, this will be very expensive as each will
    cost more than 40 gold.
    
       Intensifying runes increase critical chance by 5% and critical/backstab
    damage by 20% apiece. This may seem like the best option, but know that there
    is a +200% limit to backstab damage increase. With the two aforementioned
    daggers equipped and Shadow Striking, you already have +180% backstab damage.
    This means at least one Intensifying rune could be used to maximize backstab,
    further ones will be wasted. The critical chance still applies though, but
    there are other sources for that. Obviously you shouldn't use more of these
    runes if you reached 100% critical chance. Intensifying runes are quite cheap
    to make as well, similar in price to Elemental runes.
    
    
      ---------
       Poisons	Deathroot Extract, Concentrated Deathroot Extract,
      ---------	Crow Poison, Concentrated Crow Poison
    
       No Assassin would be complete without the use of poisons. The best poisons
    not only deal damage but also stuns the enemy, perfect in combination with Coup
    de Grace!
    
       The humble tier one Deathroot Extract grants 10% chance to stun for three
    seconds. The improved tier two version grants 15% chance to stun for 4 seconds.
    The extra 1 or 2 nature damage are inconsequential: those decent length stuns
    set you up for Coup de Grace backstabs! The tier one poison is the most cost
    effective choice of course, you'll find plenty of Deathroot plants around.
    The tier two poison is more expensive but quite a bit more effective too if
    you are able to afford ingredients.
    
       The Crow Poison and its Concentrated version are even more effective, with
    3 second longer stuns and triple the damage of the respective Deathroot
    counterpart. However they are far more expensive, requiring more ingredients.
    
       I have not learned the new Awakening poisons yet, but there doesn't seem to
    be any new Stunning poisons.
    
    
      -------
       Bombs	Any bombs: Acid, Freeze, Shock, Fire, Soulrot
      -------
    
       Assassins lack AOE damage dealing and bombs are an excellent way to fill
    this gap. The AOE is not big at all, but enough to hit 2 to 4 enemies if they
    are clustered. Any bomb will do as they all have the same AOE and damage and
    use the same amount of ingredients. Use the one least likely to be resisted by
    your target (eg. don't use Acid Flasks on Golems or Undead).
    
       All bombs need tier 2 Poison-Making to craft. There are new bomb recipes
    available in Awakening I think, but I haven't learned much of it yet.
    
    
      ------
       Bows		Heartwood Bow	Master Wade after completing Wending Wood
      ------	Misery		Amaranthine, Crown & Lion, not cheap
    
       What, bows?? That's right, you're a melee fighter but having a bow equipped
    in your secondary weapon slot will give you far more flexibility. Sometimes you
    don't have time to rush a distant enemy while a bow will get the job done
    quickly. You want a fast bow, after all if you cannot get rid of that faraway
    target in a timely fashion you may as well sprint there. As such the important
    quality for your bows to have is Rapid Aim. Good crossbows need high Str, so
    they aren't really an option.
    
       Take any Bow that has Rapid Aim. The above two would be the best ones from
    Awakening, but there are a few others with Rapid Aim. Any will do, you'll very
    rarely use it.
    
    
      --------
       Armour
      --------
    
       Helmet:	Helm of Honnleath	(export)
    		Cap of the Nimble	(Yuriah at Vigil's Keep)
    
    
       Gloves:	The Slippery Ferret's	(end of the Silverite Mine)
    
    
       Armour:	The Felon's Coat	(export)
    		Vest of the Nimble	(Vigil's Keep quests)
    
    
       Boots :	Wolf Treads		(last Vigil's Keep basement quest)
    
    
       The Helm of Honnleath remains viable as an excellent helmet for Awakening.
    The best helm in Awakening for us is the Cap of the Nimble, available fairly
    early but only if you choose to protect trade.
    
       The Slippery Ferret's Gloves are by far the best gloves available. It will
    greatly improve Dex, Cun and Critical chance, all valuable for the build.
    
       The Felon's Coat from Origins remains one of the best light armour even in
    Awakening. I am not sure if it's possible to acquire it in Awakening. Either
    way, the Vest of the Nimble is offensively superior even if it's defensively
    inferior to the Felon's Coat. The downside is it's a bit tricky to acquire.
    
       There aren't many good boots available in either Origins or Awakening
    unfortunately. Wolf Treads is probably your best bet.
    
    
      -------------
       Other Items
      -------------
    
       Amulet:	The Spellward		(export)
    		Illumination		(Wending Woods)
    
       Belt:	Andruil's Blessing 	(export)
    		Gladiator's Belt	(Blackmarsh)
    
       Rings:	Key to the City		(export)
    		Harvest Festival Ring	(export)
    		Ring of the Warrior	(export / several available)
    		Ring of Subtlety	(Knotwood Hills quest)
    
       Many of the best accessories from Origins remain viable for use throughout
    all of Awakening. If you aren't exporting, good accessories are fortunately
    available in Awakening too.
    
       The Spellward remains one of the best defensive amulets you can have.
    Illumination is an outstanding piece, granting +3 all attributes. You can't
    go wrong with Illumination, it is equally good on any build.
    
       Likewise Andruil's Blessing is still the best belt around. If you aren't
    exporting, the Gladiator's Belt is probably the best you'll get.
    
       Key to the City remains one of the best rings in the game. The Harvest
    Festival Ring and Ring of the Warrior are also solid options. The latter can
    be exported but a couple of copies are also available in Awakening. Companions
    can start with one, for example. Ring of Subtlety is a better option than the
    Ring of the Warrior with its +3 to both Dex and Cun.
    
    
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       ===============
       8. COMBAT HINTS
       ===============
    
    
       Here are some combat hints, some of which are dead obvious and some are more
    subtle.
    
     * Right before the battle begins, decide if it's worth it to use a poison.
       Unless it's a totally trivial fight, it's generally worth it. Activate it.
    
     * Try to go for mages first because they are easy to kill but dangerous if
       left alive. If they are far away though, you will waste time running to
       them. Instead use a mage or archer that can do the job from afar.
    
     * Enemies cannot stop you from focusing on their mage, but you can stop them
       from doing the same to your mage! Your mage is just as dangerous as the
       enemies' so you should try to protect them. Draw enemy mobs attention away
       using abilities such as Taunt.
    
     * In emergencies, have your mage cast Mind Blast to clear enemy Threat level
       on her. or even Force Field on his/her own self.
    
     * Since it takes precious time (one second or so) to turn on Sustained
       abilities, it is better to leave them on once you feel you have enough
       Stamina to use your other abilities. In Awakening, this should be always.
    
     * At the start of battle, Flicker gives you a great opening move. You should
       be able to hit three or more enemies with it.
    
     * Position yourself so that you're behind an enemy, facing the black part of
       their selection circle. This will enable you to perform damaging backstab
       attacks. Once you have Feast of the Fallen, killing enemies with backstabs
       will regain stamina which you can use for more combat abilities.
    
     * If a target refuses to show his back to you, stun them with Dirty Fighting
       and continue hitting them with Coup de Grace backstabs. Other stuns include
       Riposte, chance of stun from poisons, and chance of Paralyze from runes.
    
     * Use Dual Weapon Sweep when there are two or more enemies in front of you.
       You can hit a few enemies at once with this skill if they are close enough
       in front of you. In a pinch, don't hesistate to use it to deal extra damage
       against a single target. If there are no enemies in front of you, the skill
       can still be performed but it will hit nothing but air, so be careful.
    
     * If you're surrounded by 3 or more enemies, use Whirlwind if you have it.
    
     * If you see enemies clustered nearby, use a bomb and try to hit at least 3
       with it. Note that if they're currently moving around your grenade toss can
       miss. Your toss range is quite short so don't aim at distant enemies.
    
     * If there is one big major threat with high HP, use Mark of Death on that
       target and focus fire with your team.
    
     * For such dangerous boss enemies there are two ways about it: either take
       them out first, or leave them last and deal with the supporting mob first.
       Last is best if your mage can use Force Field to disable the boss while you
       clear the mob. Either way use your Mark of Death to get the job done faster.
    
     * On big bosses, use the potent combo of Low Blow, Twin Strikes (auto-critical
       thanks to Low Blow) and Unending Flurry (auto-critical and cannot miss if
       you use the other two abilities before it).
    
     * Below the Belt, Cripple and especially Deadly Strike are not as useful as
       your other abilities. If your stamina is low, give priority to the other
       abilities.
    
     * If you get into trouble, use Ghost and Decoy to save yourself. Feign Death
       also works if you have it.
    
    
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       =============
       9. COMPANIONS
       =============
    
       As always, it's good to have a balanced party. There are a few novel ideas
    that have good synergy. With the Manual of Focus, you can now re-spec all your
    companions as you like. Therefore it's not useful to treat them individually
    like in Origins. Once again, you'll have 2 Rogues, 2 Warriors and 2 Mage
    companions.
    
     * You can have up to three Bards, stacking the Song of Courage bonuses. This
       is very powerful, but it does not stack perfectly. The 1st Bard to activate
       Song gets all 3 song bonuses. The 2nd bard gets only the bonuses from the
       2nd and 3rd song. The 3rd bard only gets the bonus from the 3rd song.
    
     * It's best to make the last Bard in the above sequence an archer since they
       can get the relevant bonuses from the talent Accuracy instead.
    
     * You can have two Mages and stack two Hastes for the highest possible attack
       speed increase. Again, the 2nd Mage will only get the bonus from the 2nd
       Haste, but caster mages don't rely on attacking anyway.
    
     * Having two Mages can also give you two Blood Wound users, potentially
       permanent-paralyzing all enemies. If nothing else, two mages give you twice
       the amount of healing spells.
    
     * My favourite team will have 2 Bards and 2 Mages, with at least 1 mage being
       Arcane Warrior. This will give you three fighters, all with double Haste and
       two with double Song of Courage. Note that Haste messes with archers (bug)
       so it's best to have both Bards be melee fighters. I prefer the last mage to
       be a caster since Arcane Warriors don't generally have enough Mana for that
       much casting.
    
     * Tank warriors aren't as necessary anymore, with better survivability now
       available (Ghost, Decoy and Scout talents for Rogues, Keeper/Battlemage and
       other new spells for Mages). That said, being a tank is easier than ever
       with the new Guardian specialization and new Shield talents.
    
     * It's better than ever now to use greater offense as defense (killing enemies
       quickly before they can do much damage). For Warriors, the new Spirit
       Warrior specialization seems to be the best bet, in conjunction with the old
       Berserker.
    
    
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       ===================
        10. TIPS & TRICKS
       ===================
    
    
       Here are some non-combat related tips and tricks. Included are some bugs
    and exploits.
    
     * The new money-making exploit in Awakening is making and selling Menacing
       Runes. You need a lot of empty inventory slots for this, but it's a lot
       quicker to gain money this way compared to selling Potent Lyrium Potions.
    
     * A good portion of game time is spent walking around to places. To increase
       movement speed, use Swift Salve, the Haste spell, or Shapeshifter in Flying
       Swarm mode.
    
     * Very long cooldowns can be refreshed by saving and reloading the game.
    
     * Choices you make during the early game, such as where to direct your troops,
       can have a significant impact on the game.
    
     * More so than Origins, you can miss out on many items depending on how you
       decide to complete certain quests. Much more so than in Origins, many good
       items are rare random drops that you'll almost definitely miss unless you
       know exactly where it's supposed to appear. I suggest you look up the wiki
       site for Dragon Age if you're concerned about this.
    
     * It's probably too late, but any gifts given to Oghren during Origins as an
       exported Warden will count towards the diminishing returns effect. In other
       words if you gave Oghren 3 gifts during Origins and exported, the next gift
       will give 3 less disposition accordingly. Since his disposition is rest to
       0 even if it was higher during Origins, this is a very bad deal.
    
     * After entering the Silverite Mine, if any of your characters wake up naked
       then the game is bugged and you'll lose that character's equipped items
       forever. To avoid this, unequip that character before you enter.
    
     * Your characters don't have to eat, but you do! Bioware does not want to
       lose any dedicated gamers.
    
    
    
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     ===================
      11. CLOSING WORDS
     ===================
    
       And that's it, hope you enjoy the guide and it was useful to you.
    
       Do I even need to cite copyright stuff? Don't plagiarize.
    
       Questions and comments? Email to zeusodinra at yahoo dot com
    
    
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